Postgraduate Taught

Arts Management - PgCert

Do you work in arts management and want to take your career to a new level? This PgCert in Arts Management is the ideal course for anyone currently working in the arts and cultural sectors who wish to develop their skills and knowledge whilst they remain in their current role. It may also appeal to those with a relevant undergraduate degree who may wish to move into management in this sector.

Funding, recruitment, sustainability, leadership, international development – there are many burning issues affecting the management of arts organisations and festivals today. As a professional in the field, what is your best way to engage with them? How can you guide an arts organisation into a successful future in such uncertain times? This course offers a blend of practical project work and theoretical study that will deepen your understanding of modern arts management and equip you with some very useful contemporary skills.

The course is available both full time and part time with a September or January start. 

Why QMU?

  • Flexible study options that are particularly suitable if you are already working in the sector or wish to do so when studying: Available full time, par -time or by single module study, you will be able to develop your skills and knowledge whilst in employment. September and January start dates are available. 
  • A course that will assist you in your current role or create a route to a new career: You will be qualified for a broad range of management positions within a wide spectrum of cultural organisations and festivals.
  • Our small class sizes are perfect for sharing experiences and fostering new ideas: Enjoy the support of staff and encouragement of fellow students. While lecturers are experts in their fields, we believe it is vitally important to have a strong community of learners as these will no doubt be more important to your learning and development, but also as future colleagues and support networks.
  • Unique course content designed to prepare you for this broad sector: Our focus on the relationship between theory and practice aims to ensure that you become a reflective practitioner that is not only aware of the insights of festivals and cultural management, but that you are aware of the contextual realities of this practice.
  • Teaching team with wide ranging expertise: Our staff have a wealth of experience in both the theory and practice of cultural management, and all come from a very different perspectives, giving out students a broad overview of the subject. The lecturers have collectively been involved in such activities as writing national policies; guiding international research; leading cultural projects and businesses; and advising government on cultural policy. Our team’s research has also been published widely - including several books on the subject - and we have written reports for national bodies on a wide variety of subjects. As such, we hold significant and broad knowledge about the sector to share with students.  
  • Great location for studying and future employment in this area: Our location, just six minutes by train from the heart of the world’s greatest festival city, is sure to enrich your learning experience and provide many opportunities for work-based experience and future employment.
  • You’ll be part of an international cohort of students: Students on this course come from across the globe and sharing your experiences will proove to be of real benefit.
  • Optimum balance of theoretical and practical learning: The course offers a variety of learning experiences, including industry-based learning, which are sure to enrich your studies. Real-world assignments are designed to develop and consolidate your new key skills.
  • Industry input and our professional links ensures you are up to date with key developments: The course has been developed over time in co-operation with key national cultural agencies and other bodies with a strategic interest in the development of arts organisations and festivals. Our location in the ‘Festival City’ also allows for strong practical links between the course and the many arts, festival and cultural organisations based in and around Edinburgh, across Scotland and the UK.

Arts Management (PgCert): More information and what you will achieve

You will complete three modules on this block-taught PgCert, covering topics including fundraising, governance, leadership and finance.

As part of your course you can opt to evaluate a live project you are already involved in. You will produce a report that may help evidence, impact and generate future support for your work. You will also consolidate your new learning with a placement in an arts organisation.

How will I be taught?

Structure and exit awards

You will complete three 20 credit modules to obtain a PgCert (60 credits). 

This PgCert also counts as credit towards our MA Arts, Festival and Cultural Management. After completion of the PgCert, you’ll have the option to obtain the MA on a part-time basis the following year by completing three additional modules and a dissertation. Contact Alice McGrath  for more information on single module study.

Teaching, learning and assessment

Teaching comprises a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, case studies and projects. Assessment will take the form of essays, reports, exams and presentations.

Placement/industry-based learning

While the course does not require a formal placement, we do require students to take up industry-based learning positions to assist their learning and to put theory into practice. These opportunities are offered by many of the world-famous organisations that are based in Edinburgh (eg the Edinburgh International Festival or the International Film Festival). Although we support students to find opportunities, you are required to secure your own arrangements in line with your personal interests. As we are in Edinburgh, the world’s first and best Festival City, there are no end of opportunities in this regards, and we are well regarded by our industry peers: many of our alumni work in these organisations now and advocate for us. If you are already working in the sector, you can use your existing employment as the site for your industry-based learning.

Teaching hours and attendance

The three modules would require approximately four days of on-campus learning each semester, meaning that the PgCert could be completed within 12-14 days of intensive study that is spread over the course of a year.

Class sizes

Normally, there are around 30-35 students enrolling on the course each year.

Teaching staff

You can read more about the teaching staff on this course at the bottom of this page. You can also click on the staff profiles immediately below. Please note that teaching staff is subject to change. 

Dr Anthony Schrag (Programme Leader)

Rachel Blanche

Professor Rebecca Finkel

Alice McGrath


  • Leadership, Governance and Strategy (Not-for-Profit) (20 credits) 
  • Fundraising, Finance and Development (20 credits) 
  • Arts Management in Practice (20 credits) OR Evaluating Arts and Cultural Projects (20 Credits) 

Module descriptions:

Leadership, Governance and Strategy (Not-for-Profit) (20 credits): This module will provide students with a critical understanding of the principles and practices of leadership, governance and strategic management pertinent to the management of not-for-profit organisations. Students will examine different leadership strategies and critically interrogate how governance forms and guides cultural organisations. The assessments include an essay and a strategic analysis. 

Fundraising, Finance and Development (20 credits): This module will equip students with a critical understanding of the principles and practices of fundraising, development and financial management. The assessments invite students to examine financial support mechanisms (eg, completing a funding application or designing a sponsorship pack) as well as financial literacy exam. This module marks our course as quite unique in this regards. 

Arts Management in Practice (20 credits): This module will support students to become reflective practitioners, confident in their ability to employ and adapt theory in relation to the organisational contexts in which they may work. Students will attend field trips and receive experts in the field who will talk about their practical realities as cultural managers. This is the module that also houses the ‘industry based experience’ element OR

Evaluating Cultural Projects (20 credits): This module will provide students with the knowledge and understanding to effectively design and execute the evaluation of arts and cultural projects. A very student-driven module, this is an optional choice instead of Arts Management in Practice and can only be taken if a real-time Cultural Project is occurring that the student can access. 

NB The modules listed are correct at time of posting (October 2023) but are subject to change. In the event that modules change, QMU will seek to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that there is no detrimental impact on students. 

Career opportunities

You will be qualified for a broad range of management positions within a wide spectrum of cultural organisations and festivals. Previous graduates have gone on to work in theatres, performing arts organisations, galleries, local government and cultural agencies. In addition, many now work in festivals within the UK, Europe and internationally. Potential careers might include producing, fundraising, marketing, programming or audience development, as well as many other roles across the cultural industries.

Arts Management (PgCert): Entry requirements and application information

Entry requirements

A UK honours degree or equivalent OR significant work experience in cultural organisations or festivals.

International: You will be required to provide evidence of English language competence at no less than IELTS 6.5 with no individual component score less than 6.0.

Disability/health conditions

If you have a disability, long-term physical or mental health condition, or learning disability, it should not stand in the way of your studying at QMU. However, if you are not sure whether your disability might be a barrier in your studies or in relation to the professional standards, please contact the disability service who will be able to have a conversation with you about reasonable adjustments and supports available to you.

Applying for this course

For more information on applying, or to apply for this course, please follow the links in the 'Start your application' box at the top right of this page.

Application deadline

Home: End of August for September 2024 start and end of December for January 2025 start.

International: This course is not open to international students.

Terms and Conditions

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2024/25 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).

More information and QMU contacts


If you have any further questions, you may find answers on the general MA Arts, Festival and Cultural Management page, which has a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Become your best you: study at QMU

Course Overview

On campus at QMU with some industry-based learning
Part-time only: 1 year minimum, 4 years maximum
Start Date
September 2024
Start Date
January 2025
School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management
Fees & Funding
SCQF Level

Engage with the Team

Join us at one of our Postgraduate Open Events

Find out about online and in-person opportunities to meet with us to find out more about our postgraduate courses and study at QMU. 

Postgraduate Open Events - More Info and Bookings